Sleep my way to the top?
A long time ago when I was an aspiring classical musician a friend gave me some advice that stuck with me. He said, “get a boyfriend who is successful in the field you want to succeed in” The basic concept is you are who you hang out with, the “boyfriend” issue regardless, and updated for the 21st century. Time went by, I made the decisions I made, I got into radio. Now the internet has completely changed the work I do.
Back in the old days kids
When I was hired at KPIG (the second time) there were no MP3’s, we were just starting to use digital editing to make commercials. The disc jockeys were playing mostly CD’s and still used tape carts to play commercials that looked like 8 track tapes. They used two track tape that would play in a special tape machine and stop and re cue the tape to play again.. I worked at KTOM in the 80’s and the entire library was on tape cart. Specialty shows usually arrived on vinyl. We sliced tape with a razor blade to edit.
No love from the radio world for KPIG
Ironically KPIG was open to newer technology long before many “real” radio stations. to explain the difference between “real” radio and KPIG is that radio had a culture that was extremely dogmatic. DJ’s took pride in how tightly they ran their shows, even a fraction of a second of dead air was unacceptable. Radio people were the stars of their towns, stations had a news department, there were rules, some unspoken. KPIG’s success was a slap in the face to the people who worked hard to make slick radio. Laura Ellen, the program director, didnt always get the love she deserved with her peers.
Unfortunately, those early years of digitizing KPIG were pretty rough. Staff correctly feared that putting the station in the hands of computers would mean an end to DJ shifts, tighten up the flow, and kill what made the station different. Professional broadcasting equipment took a couple of years to come around, and in the interim we had some failed experiments and bad consumer grade solutions or were beta testing software and hardware.
KPIG now runs on state of the art automation that is easy to administer, schedule, make tasty segues, (even a KPIG disk jockey likes that) and is incredibly expensive. While the company is shoving it’s employees out the door, KPIG has actually managed to add some live shifts back in. Which brings me full circle back to American business and it’s approach to middle management.
Where did America’s talent go?
With the lay off at KPIG and in the months after the company lost both production directors for five FM’s and an AM, the VP of operations quit, they reduced most air talent and some administrative help to part time situations. People said, “how can a radio station run without somebody to manage production of commercials?’
and then it got bad
The program director for KPIG, Laura Ellen Hopper made a speedy conversion to the next plain which is full of pretty horses and yodeling cowboys in 2007. They did not replace her. Not that is would have been simple to find somebody to fill her shoes.
Running a radio station without a program director Is like running a Rite Aid store and letting the employees decide what products to sell. Laura had been spent 60 hours a week for 40 years making KPIG sound free form and un formatted. If she was here now she’d point a claw like finger bent with RA at you and shrilly inform you of how hard it was to keep the suits from farggin the place up. Whether you asked or not.
So there we are.
American companies have laid off, outsourced, neglected, underpaid the people who know how to run them. People with degrees and experience are delivering pizzas. Who’s left to make creative business decisions?
You can’t write comedy like this
My Brother is a network administrator for a international cell phone company serving 52 million customers world wide. He works in a giant telephone hub in the central valley. Keeping some of the most powerful phone servicing equipment on the planet going. It took me a few minutes the other night to absorb when he said they’d had no phone service in the building for several days. It’s not that they don’t know how to solve their phone problems, it’s that they cant decide who’s job it is. He also told me that they decided to use AT&T to handle business DSL for the building. Im sure asking a competitor to put in internet service makes business sense. I could be wrong. Maybe the executives dont know what their big expensive machines do. He has also told me stories about fed exing printer paper to another office because the office misjudged it’s needs and had no budget for more. Do the math on the price of paper and the price of fed ex.
So now I have my own company
Such as it is. and going to school to learn some new stuff. and selling wine cause the money is good. I was in the computer lab at Cabrillo last night and being the accomplished eves dropper I am, was listening to a lady lecture a younger person on graphics. I couldnt figure out who was tutoring who until it became apparent she is a client. She has gone to the college to get a student to do work for her marketing business. She kicking this poor kid around and telling him every few minutes how she is doing him a favor. The other day I saw an audio job that somebody posted that said: “we recorded our program on a headset, your job is to make it sound better.” nope, not for me.
measure twice, cut once
Let’s do this stuff right the first time and make it sound good! and pay me at least minimum wage for the top knotch advanced editing mixing, formatiing I do. Isnt it interesting I have to add “at least minimum wage” into my lofty standards? This is because people post jobs saying, “I have 90 minutes of audio from a seminar where the volume changes up and down,there are some dead spots, buzzing and coughing. It’s a simple job that should take only a few minutes, I’ll pay you $10 to fix it.” . This is like everything else in the world that creates your marketing brand. Spending more energy on it pays off. which reminds me, It’s way past time for a new hair do.
Speaking of appearances
My Friend Rose took me out to dinner the other night. I arrived at her house and she spread out gift certificates to some of the most hoity toity places in Aptos She and Neil dine out a lot, so she had bid on and won dining opportunities at the Aptos chamber fund raiser. Dang! I picked out a certificate for Ma Masion on Soquel Drive. I’ve met the owners several times in ad production, nice people. Pricey but worth it. Try the Smoked salmon salad. I also had scallops, Rose had Duck. The restaurant is pretty. I’d do it again. I like hanging out with Rose because she and I have some great things to talk about and similar family experiences, came from similar rural western environments, and we get along well. Rose and Neil are good examples of doing things well, I need this influence, Im meeting more and more people that are real, and a good influence on me.
The world moves on
When I worked at KPIG It was easy to hide in the production room, blast off to the next thing my children needed. The commute was killing me, and sorry to say I wasnt producing awesome stuff. My best work would be on the air for less time than it took for me to create it.
There were times when the tools were so poor it didnt even matter. It is not likely I would find a radio job in a town I’d like to live in with state of the art equipment, an ad design team that would work hard on designing effective commercials for it’s clients. In my brief foray into print, they actually tried harder. And even then I wouldnt say the advertising was a great deal for the client.
Oh, my Boyfriend? He has a degree from UCSC. Helped design the GPS system in its infancy, and worked in the travel industry for many years. He is an extremely hard worker and a great employee. He works at Orchard Supply Hardware.
There are benefits to being your own boss. Tax breaks, two hour naps, the boss doesnt mind if you have a beer. and I get to create some awesome stuff.
Curled up in the fetal position under the mixing console, crying.
For me, doing production for a company in a gallery slave environment has little long term benefit. In other words, I dont feel the quality of the material I was whipped into creating enhanced my reel, my resume or the world. Cramming 250 words of generic copy into a 60 second radio commercial may not be the best advertising dollar spent. With Radio stations only being willing to part with a small hourly wage, reluctant to hire full time with benefits, local radio ad production has suffered. Im not saying I wont look for and accept a great job, is there a radio station that wants to do great in-house production with salary and benefits? Maybe. or not radio.
In addition to the aforementioned crying (a DJ in the production room) there was also the sound of CD’s hitting the wall from the program directors office accompanied by loud guttural obscenities, the time one DJ threw another thru the production room window. holes punched in the walls covered with posters, mouse droppings on the equipment, I never quite made it to the floor with my own wretched despair but there where times…
The bad part about freelancing
Scrambling for work, having clients who move slow or never respond again, (there are many many reasons for this). Large possibility of poverty. No benefits (but its a tax break!) People who are indignant you want to charge for your services, or want to pay less than minimum wage. People who say “it’s a quick and easy job”. Considering I have to listen to every piece of audio I have to edit, the length of the project is determined by the length of your audio. It can only be quick if the audio is very short. To do it right, I really have to spend about 4 times the length of the sound file. That’s expensive, so I try to make it as attractive as possible, but I have limits. Then there are the people who want you to “intern” to build your portfolio. I think it’s built, but thanks anyway.
On line Freelancing Services
Most of these services are going for the gallery slave approach while nickeling and dimeing their subscribers. I have decided I only want to focus on podcasting. If I wanted to build websites or aps these websites would serve me better. I absolutely will not compete for a small voice over job. I don’t bid on them anymore. Occasionally somebody needs me to spiffy up their audio with a small voice gig, which I am capable of doing and can voice adequately.
One of the better ones. They offer a free basic membership, which is fair. You get 10 bids a month, then they take a sliding scale of what you earn. I would be most willing to pay a sliding scale to any web site that gets me work. It’s is really the most fair. for $25 a month you get 100 (I think) chances to bid, chances to leave feed back and references. But then they still take a percent of your earnings. I paid for it for a couple of months but have discontinued for now. I was getting work the clients were not following up on (which is everywhere) and not enough jobs I wanted to do. Im sure I’ll have to re-up when something juicy appears.
I’ve gotten quite a few jobs from them. It’s only $10 a month and they get the client to pay a percentage which they add on to your bid, I dont have to do any math to figure out how much I want to charge. The website is easy to use, communication is fairly easy. The only problem is that occasionally people will list their jobs in the wrong category, since the service only allows me to bid in one category, it frustrates me when I see a job I am totally qualified to do and I cant bid on it. Elance invites me to spend more money…..
Avoid it! Bad website configuration, many hoops to jump thru to sign up, many hoops to jump thru to bid on jobs, they want you to download time clock software to use their website (no figgin way) they dont guarantee you’ll get paid which the other websites do. When you bid on a job you will get a message saying that the client may not see your bid because you have no history. They brag they can get projects done for way under market rate, Im sure that the people working at Odesk want market rate. I did a quick feed set up last week and Odesk is sitting on my money claiming they need a W9 from me. They have it, along with my business and personal checking accounts and paypal information, My business tax ID, more. how about blood type? a DNA scan? Nothing is easy to do on this website. I’ll take jobs from Odesk only if it really worth the hassle.
Craigslist is the yin and yang of the freelance world. All that is good and right with the world and all that is wrong with people. I’d much rather do a $10 quick audio edit from here than hassle with a service. I do find real work on Craigslist. Donanza searches Craigslist and found a pod casting gig for me to try for. It was in the NYC CL I would never have seen it. It with an agency so it will take a while to get the gig settled.
scriptlance, freelance, freelancer, freelanced, peopleperhour, sologig ..Im competing with people in other countries on these websites who will work for pennies, I glance in occasionally. never had work from them. nibbles, but no work. I let Donanza, pick thru all this and send me links to gigs.
ifreelance went crazy and sent me two pages of emails the other day.
Voices.com Voice123.com Voplanet ..there are more. These services that focus on the voice over world. Honestly, the world is full of bright young perky women who want to do voice overs. These services all offer to get you auditions for good gigs for $200 $400 a year, Upfront. hmmm….that’s alot of money to gamble with.
Production notices sends me email about crew gigs. If I was younger and had more free time I’d apply for these one or two day jobs. I’ve never tried for one, it might be fun to grip for the food network. I imagine the competition is pretty fierce, you’ll never know until you try.
Social media? a blog? actually leaving the house? business cards? selling wine in costco?